Watchdogs hail proposal to cut water bills
Watchdogs have welcomed plans to cut the average water bill by £14 a year.
Water regular Ofwat wants a 4% reduction in price limits for water and sewerage costs in England and Wales between 2010 and 2015.
It comes after water suppliers had called for a rise in bills – averaging £28 – over the same period.
Severn Trent and Anglian Water, which supply households across Leicestershire and Rutland, have three months to respond to the proposals.
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Sir James Perowne, chairman of the Consumer Council for Water in the Midlands, said: "We welcome the tough stance taken by Ofwat.
"We pressed the regulator to bring costs down to a level which customers would find more favourable.
"At first sight, it looks as though the regulator listened to us, and found areas where savings could be made."
Regina Finn, Ofwat's chief executive, said the price cuts would still allow the industry to spend almost £21bn on reducing the risk of flooding, repairing burst pipes and improving drinking water quality.
Analysts said Severn Trent would be among the most badly affected if the reduction went ahead. In May, it blamed a fall in profits on a rise in customers unable to pay their bills because of the downturn and business customers going bust.
Ofwat will make a final decision in November after discussions with suppliers and customers.
Tony Wray, Severn Trent's chief executive, said the company would review the Ofwat plans.